Eloise Hawser Presents Anabasis to Dora

16 Mar 2018

Eloise Hawser presents Anabasis to Dora, a programme of multi-site visits based on research into unusual and contested spaces, museums and collections around the UK. The visits formed the background to her current exhibition By the deep, by the mark, until 22 April.

The podcast follows Eloise on an Anabasis to Dora tour exploring London’s infrastructure with a bus trip to Beckton sewage treatment works and Crossness via Thamesmead. These waste disposal and transport sites form the functional backbone of the city, interconnected by largely unseen subterranean systems, moving fluids, waste and data around in a constant, necessary flow.

Beckton marks the confluence of London’s northern and southern outfall sewers. The 260-acre site has been home to a treatment works for a century, and displays a rare array of different architectural tropes in its myriad buildings and structures. It also plays host to wildlife, a collection of Brutalist incinerators, a cylindrical pond, and all with an unexpectedly agrarian look to it. 

Crossness, a now out-of-use Victorian sewage pumping station, fronted by ornate, almost church-like nineteenth century ironwork, a sunken void at the back hinting at its less attractive function. Crossness – adorned in ornate, richly painted ironwork – has been dubbed a ‘cathedral on the marsh’. It is both an expression of grand nineteenth-century ambition and a fundamentally utilitarian structure serving the most unglamorous necessities of a human population.

Podcast produced by Somerset House Studios, edited by Jo Barratt. Music: Cylinder Nine by Chris Zabriskie, Global Warming by Kai Engel